A letter addressed to Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, and Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Communications, states that a total of nearly 8,000 jobs will be added to the Sriperumbudur industrial cluster near Chennai by the end of the year. The information in the letter has been shared by the task force created four years back to kick-start manufacturing in the country.
In 2014 Nokia had shut down its Chennai plant as Microsoft had terminated mobile purchase agreement from the factory and it was left with no business. There was also a tax case where the Supreme Court had ordered Nokia India to give Rs 3,500 crore guarantee before it transfers the plant to Microsoft. This letter highlights that the jobs lost at that time have now mostly been recovered.
According to the letter, Taiwanese phone maker Foxconn, Finnish manufacturer Salcomp and US-based Flex currently make up for 25,000 electronics jobs in the cluster. Prior to the shut down nine manufacturers with 33,200 employees functioned on full swing.
A fast-track task force including a body of top executives of phone makers and bureaucrats from the IT ministry was created to revive the Nokia factory, in particular, and the phone-making ecosystem near Sriperumbudur. After four years of working towards this goal, they are now claiming positive results.
Pankaj Mohindroo, National President of the Indian Cellular Association, who wrote the letter, said, “This turnaround is a result of policies such as correcting anomalies in the duty structure that encouraged phone makers to set up shop in India.”
Efforts towards creating more jobs around this area will further continue. Foxconn has also begun manufacturing at it’s another site of the Nokia SEZ and has reached 7,000 jobs in the state. In fact, the state government is also in talks with Lenovo for the revival of the Motorola plant.